When hearing of the teaching of the Tao:
The wise person is diligent about putting it into practice,
the average person can only sometimes follow it,
the inferior person laughs at it –
but if they did not laugh, it would not be the teaching of the Tao.
There are these established sayings:
The enlightened path appears dark,
and advancing on this path may seem like retreating.
For the path that looks smooth is often rugged.
The greatest virtue appears empty,
and the greatest purity appears tarnished.
The most magnificent virtue seems insufficient,
and firmly established virtue seems frail.
Real virtue is fluid and changeable.
The perfect square has no boundaries.
The greatest talent is slow to mature.
The perfect sound is hard to discern.
The greatest form is without shape.
The Tao remains in the background, nameless.
Yet it is because of this that the Tao is able to nourish and bring success.
-Lao-tzu- (Tao Te Ching, verse 41, interpretation by Robert Brookes)